Last year, my 12 blogs of Christmas post was one of the most read of the year, so I thought I'd do an annual version. What surprised me is how many of these have changed since last year. Enjoy, and please list your favorites in the comments. I'm always looking for good stuff from good people.
On the first day of Christmas...follow the thought leaders. These are the people that encourage us, give us food for thought, and, in Jason Falls' case, cuss at us once in a while.
1. Chris Brogan. If you want to see what's coming, he is the guy to follow. He is a never-ending stream of energy on several blogs on several topics. A true digital entrepreneur, he has more ideas than Carter has pills, as my Mom used to say. And he is a true believer in lifting up the little guy.
2. Jason Falls. If you are looking for someone to give it to you straight, and you are involved in business, here is your guy. His latest book (with Erik Deckers), No Bullshit Social Media, is a must read. And he is fun, a little irreverent, and always right on.
3. Brand Savant (Tom Webster). Webster is the measurement guru. Plain English and info you can use. He is not afraid to call "BS" on what is, and his pedigree is top shelf.
4. Jay Baer. Jay writes a blog called "Convince and Convert" I read daily. His book with Amber Naslund, The Now Revolution, is also a must read. One of the things I like best about Jay, besides his right-on social advice for businesses, is that his blogs are accented with pieces of life--he's a real guy.
Boy, I could go on in this category, but must move on. (Lee Oden, David Meerman Scott, Olivier Blanchard, Amber Naslund, Beth Kanter, C.C. Chapman, Liz Strauss)
The calling birds...when it comes to basic "how-to" stuff, here's a great place to start:
5. Mari Smith. If you want to get any info on Facebook, she knows it. She is on Twitter, Facebook, and every other conceivable social channel you can think of. She does great instructional videos and is one of the most friendly, pleasant and engaging people out there. She is the queen of Facebook.
6. Social Media Examiner. This is the best resource I've found for how-to's on social media and news from the social media world that's relevant. I don't read Mashable (too much noise), I read SME. They weed out all the junk and give you the meat and potatoes.
(Copyblogger and All Twitter are good how-to sites that are focused on one specific channel.)
Five (or so) golden rings...there are many good higher ed blogs out there and I follow many more than are listed here. (They can be found on the list of blogs I recommend under the tab on my website, We Recommend)
7. Higher Ed Marketing: I follow Andrew Careaga because he is pretty savvy and smart when it comes to higher ed marketing. He is also a music aficionado and is a must-follow on Twitter (@andrewcareaga). Make sure to check out his "Friday Five" on Fridays (of course). He is another blogger keepin' it real.
8. Michael Stoner (@mStonerblog). Not all good .edu consulting firms have top notch blogs, but Stoner does. He has a stable full of good thinkers and writers in the areas of social media, tech, and website stuff you should follow.
9. Andy Shandlin (@alumnifutures). Andy is a wiz at social media stuff in addition to being a top authority on all matters related to advancement at the higher ed level.
10. Meet Content. A new blog in the past year penned by higher ed veterans Rick Allen and Georgy Cohen. Great stuff on content marketing as applied to higher ed.
11. Karine Joly. If it has to do with online and higher ed, you will find it here and find it done well.
(Nods to Inside Tim's Head, Eric Stoller's Blog (Student Affairs),Patrick Powers, and Schneiderb.com. If you missed anything, you can find it at BlogHighEd)
And a partridge in a pear tree..you gotta have some fun in your day. This last blog is a personal favorite.
12. Dr. BS: The Road Scholar. Dr. Bill Smith is the director of marketing and branding at Northwest State (Louisiana). His blog is eclectic and informative. One day he will blog on technology and social media and the next it's pure Dr. BS philosophy, history, or athletics--fun and good stuff. He is a real techie and that comes through often on his blog.
There it is, this year's model. I invite you to write your favorites in the comments. The last installment of the 12 Blogs of Christmas will be the Five Best New Year's Crisis PR blogs--coming next week. Until then, Happy Holidays!